A new group of Cabrini University students, staff, and alumni visited the mission of San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala this past week. This is the 14th visit, which we describe as an immersion experience. People often ask what we do. While we do perform work of the kind experienced on mission trips, such as building homes, the purpose of Cabrini University’s week-long trip is to learn from the people of San Lucas Tolimán about their lives, culture, and religion as well as their challenges and successes.
Among the challenges are climate change, persistent poverty, and migration. We could see how drought and unreliable rainfall affect crops, especially maize and coffee, both so vital to their diets and economy. When the economy makes it difficult to support a family, a ripple effect occurs, affecting all aspects of family life and may lead to migration.
However, over the 14 years we have been visiting we see such exceptional progress. We visited the Mission’s school, which educates 650 students each year. The hospital serves hundreds of residents without regard to the ability to pay. The coffee cooperative, run by the Mission, produces award-winning beans exported to the States. The farmers growing the coffee are paid above-market prices for their beans so they can live lives of dignity. All the projects run by the mission are now fully staffed and led by members of the community.
Each evening the students and alumni led discussions centered on one of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. The principles helped us all to focus what we experienced each day. All returned to the States with a renewed commitment to solidarity and the common good. ~ submitted by Dr. Jerry Zurek, Cabrini University
One of the alumni on the trip, Angelina Capozzi, now a professional photographer, documented what we saw with some exceptional photos. https://angelinacapozzi.pixieset.com/guatemala2023/